Friday, March 11, 2011


C'garh will move SC to stop Polavaram project
Article Date 10-3-2011, The Asian Age ePaper

Chhattisgarh March 9: Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh on Wednesday announced that the state government would soon move Supreme Court seeking its intervention to stop Andhra Pradesh from going ahead with the multi-purpose Polavaram project.
“We have decided to move the apex court against the project as Andhra Pradesh is going ahead with its construction without consulting us on several issues, including raising the dam height,” Mr Singh told the state Assembly here.
The chief minister said an estimated 17,000 hectares of reserve forest in south Bastar region would be submerged and more than 15,000 tribals displaced by the Indira Sagar Dam Project. Mr Singh said he had already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh urging them to call a meeting of the chief ministers of the concerned states — Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa — to resolve the issue.
The chief minister said he had also discussed the issue with his Orissa counterpart, Mr Naveen Patnaik, who is also opposed to the project.
He said the controversial project would only benefit Andhra Pradesh, while Chhattisgarh and Orissa would be worst affected.
Even the Union environment minister had admitted that public hearing for the
proposed project was not conducted by Andhra government before the project obtained environment clearance, he added.
Making a statement in the House, state forest minister Vikram Usendi said the height of the proposed dam was increased from 150 ft to 177.04 feet by Andhra Pradesh without taking Chhattisgarh government into confidence.
Earlier, Congress Legislature Party leader Ravindra Choubey and former chief minister Ajit Jogi expressed serious concern over the adverse impact of the project on Chhattisgarh. They said nearly 50 tribal villages would be submerged by the project and extended their party's support for any movement by the state government against the project.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Alamatti dam problems create rifts between union and state governments since 1978

the louder you shout and the more noise you make, the greater is your chance of succeeding: this seems to be the mantra of both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh (ap) politicians on the contentious issue of the Alamatti dam (over the Krishna river in Karnataka). The dam is part of the Upper Krishna Project (ukp) in the Krishna river valley.

Karnataka's move to raise the level of Alamatti to 528 metre (m) had been troubling ap for some time. ap fears that once Karnataka raised the level to impound excess Krishna waters, nothing on earth will bring it down and into the command areas of Krishna valley dams in ap - including Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar, Jerula and Krishna barrage - thereby jeopardising the economy of ap's rice bowl.Karnataka is bent on building as high dam as possible so that by the year 2000, when review of the Krishna water dispute tribunal becomes due, it is in a position to show maximum use of the Krishna waters.

Suspecting that the Centre was almost hand-in-glove with Karnataka on the issue, ap decided to act by petitioning the state high court, among other things. What ap is basically afraid of is that the projects built by it will become redundant once upstream states start using their share of the water.

While both Karnataka and ap swear by the Bachawat award (1976) of the Krishna water dispute tribunal, both wish to garner the maximum amount of water before the review of the award after May in 2000. The Bachawat award had allocated 700 tmc-ft (thousand million cubic feet) of water to Karnataka, 800 tmc-ft to ap and 560 tmc-ft to Maharashtra. These limits set up by the tribunal and the mega project-centered mindset of the water resources bureaucracy and politicians, seem to be root of the problem. In their haste to show maximum utilisation of Krishna waters, all three states are building oversized reservoirs, without taking into consideration social, environmental or financial implications of the projects.

The Alamatti dam - which the Bachawat tribunal called the "carry-over reservoir" - has reportedly already reached a height of 507 m. Against the three-m gates as originally envisaged, the dam will now have 15.5-m gates. What is significant is that while Karnataka is trying to raise the height of the dam, the World Bank, under whose active patronage construction on the dam started, is silent even though the aid to the dam had to be stopped at least twice for poor rehabilitation facilities. In the haste to complete the dam, the people to be affected by it stand to lose the most.

Way back in 1976, the Bachawat tribunal had more than once pointed out that Karnataka had deviated from the Planning Commission (pc) sanctions in the case of the ukp. While the pc has given the go-ahead for the power component of the project, the central electricity authority had yet to give techno-economic clearance, says the Union power minister S Venugopalachary. Likewise, K C Agarwal, commissioner (projects) of the Union water resources ministry points out that no sanction had been given for stage ii, including the power component. The sequence of events shows that there is no comprehensive impact assessment, nor is there a coordination between different sanctioning authorities for the project.

According to Agarwal, there is no central body to check if the sanctions are being adhered to.In 1990, the pc had approved the raising of the dam's height from the earlier 512.2 m to 523.8 m. But the same sanction also gave a 'no-objection' to the stage ii construction plans of the dam in the spillway and power dam portions, which would raise the height further to 528.25 m. Karnataka's claims it has the pc's clearance to construct the dam for an additional four m to store an additional 100 tmc-ft water for non-consumptive hydropower use, is based on this sanction.

In its affidavit filed before the ap high court, Karnataka has said that the central water commission (cwc), "in its letter dated July 4, 1996, cleared the gate design aspect, subject to compliance of certain observations, which are in respect of technical aspects regarding design of the gates". By taking a strong stand over the last two months, the ap chief minister C Chandrababu Naidu has been attempting to preempt sanction for this additional construction. Also under fire from him is the alleged Rs 200 crore sanction for the dam under the Union government's new accelerated irrigation development scheme. Agarwal, however, terms the issue of sanction of Rs200 crore an imaginary matter as no proposal was even considered.

In his efforts to resolve the tangle, Prime Minister Deve Gowda recently appointed an expert committee including members from the pc and the cwc to look into the matter, but later he had to backtrack when it was pointed out that such a committee could not go beyond the purview of the tribunal's award. The committee was not even allowed to visit the dam site. In fact, the objective of maximum utilisation of river waters can be best realised by resorting to multiple small projects and extensive watershed development. Strangely, the increased social and environmental costs are not part of the debate.

The nerve-centre of the lingering river valley disputes has been reflected upon aptly by L C Jain. Said the former member of planning commission, "Fifty years of development planning should teach us that as long as we confine the solutions within interstate parameters, we cannot find sustainable, durable or real solutions. Rigid bureaucracy and the tendency of politicians to play up to imaginary galleries have defied solutions. Unless people on both sides of borders who are going to be affected or benefitted are taken into confidence, the real solutions will continue to elude us."
Down to Earth


Karnataka Govt. to challenge Krishna tribunal order in Supreme Court

Bangalore, Feb 25 (ANI): Karnataka Government has decided to challenge the verdict of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal on the division of surplus water from the Krishna River in the Supreme Court of India.
A meeting, which was chaired here today Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and attended by Karnataka Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai and floor leaders of the Opposition parties felt that the tribunal in its final award has not done justice to Karnataka which had demanded a share of 278 tmcft and was allocated only 178 tmcft.
The meeting, which was also attended by Industries Minister Murgesh Nirani, Minor Irrigation Minister Govind Karjol and JDS leader M C Nanaiah, was convened to discuss and finalise the state’s future course of action on the Tribunal order.
Basavaraj Bommai after the meeting said besides contesting the allocation of water before Supreme Court, the state would also file an application seeking clarifications from the Tribunal on why the state’s plea for allocating 50 percent of the 448 tmcft available for sharing was not considered.
The Tribunal passing its verdict in December last year allocated the maximum share of 1001 TMC feet of water of the river to Andhra Pradesh, 911 to Karnataka and 666 to Maharashtra.
The Krishna River originates in Maharashtra and flows through Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh before discharging into the Bay of Bengal.
Sharing of Krishna waters has been surrounded in controversy as Karnataka has been seeking to raise the height of the Almatti Dam to 528 metres. It argued that the Union Planning Commission approved the original height of 528 metres in 1978.
But Andhra Pradesh contended that Karnataka has been raising the height of the dam without legal sanction, and in violation of a 1974 tribunal award, accepted by both states. (ANI)

Monday, March 7, 2011


Government of Andhra Pradesh have proposed to construct a Multipurpose project across river Godavari near Polavaram at 42 kms upstream of existing Godavari barrage near Rajmahendry in the West Godavary district of Andhra Pradesh.
In the inter-state meeting held on 15.12.78, it was decided to go for the construction of Polavaram project in such a manner that maximum submergence in Orissa territory should not exceed RL 150ft at Konta/Motu due to all effects including back water effect.
Further as per agreement dated 02.04.1980 the co-basin states agreed upon that the discharging capacity of the spillway may be 36 lakh cusecs at RL + 140 feet and an operation schedule was also prescribed.
The Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal (GWDT) passed its final order during April 1980.Clause(VI) of the order states that the Polavaram project shall be cleared by the Central Water Commission (CWC) as expeditiously as possible for MWL/FRL 150ft. The matter of design and its operation was left to CWC keeping in view all the agreements and change in operation schedule to be done in consultation with co-basin states. The design aspect was left entirely to CWC by GWDT

During the inter-state meeting held on 26.2.1997,Government of Andhra Pradesh intimated that at 36 lakh cusecs design flood the water level may go up to RL 182 feet due to back water effect. As a result 7 villages (1026 ha of land) in Orissa territory are likely to be affected.Further Govt. of Andhra Pradesh intimated
during March 2001 that 10 villages and 2119.38 ha. of land were likely to be affected in Orissa territory. 648.05 ha. of land would be submerged at RL 150 ft. which includes 102.16 ha. of reserve forest in Orissa territory. These values are based on the remote sensing data.While the the issue of submergence in Orissa
remain unresolved.
The Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India have granted environmental clearance to the project on 25.10.2005 based on design flood of 36 lakh cusecs. In the meanwhile, the design flood of
the project has been revised by CWC to the order of 50 lakh cusecs. As such, the environmental clearance given to this project can not be treated as valid and has to be revoked as the Environmental clearance was given basing ondesign flood of 36 lakh cusecs.
Sri R.Vidya Sagar Rao, Retired Chief Engineer,C.W.C had filed a petition before the Central Empowered Committee (constituted by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India) challenging the Forest & Environment clearance accorded by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India dated 25.10.2005.The officers of Government of Orissa appeared before the C.E.C on 26.6.2006, 26.7.2006 and
29.8.2006 and strongly opposed the proposed Polavaram project of A.P. Government.
Hon’ble High Court of Orissa has passed order in the Misc Case No.3117 of 2006 arising out of W.P© No.3669/2006; “It is open to the State of Andrha Pradesh to proceed with the construction of Indira Sagar (Polavaram)Multipurpose Project after complying with the requirements of all laws applicable in this regard in such manner that no land/village/area within the territory of the State of Orissa is submerged.”
Hon’ble Chief Minister, Orissa has requested the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Hon’ble Union Minister of Water Resources, Hon’ble Union Minister of F&E and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to reformulate the Pollavaram Multipurpose project without any submergence in Orissa territory as socio-economic situation
of Orissa has undergone a sea change since 1978.
The Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India have granted R&R clearance to the project on 17.4.2007.
Government of Orissa have filed a suit in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India against the Government of Andhra Pradesh under Art 131 of the Indian Constitution on 09.10.2007 with prayer
(a) To declare that the first defendant has no right or entitlement to undertake or proceed with the construction of Polavaram Project (now known as Indira Sagar Project) on Godavari river at Polavaram.
(b) To declare the clearance of the Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests dated 25.10.2005 as illegal and null & void.
(c) To declare the tribal clearance given by the Secretary (Tribal), Government of India, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, New Delhi as null & void.
(d) To grant a permanent injunction restraining the A.P. Government from undertaking or proceeding with the construction of Polavaram Project (now known as Indira Sagar Project) on Godavari river at Polavaram or order to defendant to lower its heights so as not to submerge the territory of Orissa Stat
(e) To declare the permission of Central Water Commission vide its letter No.6/125/2007 PAC(S) dated.11.04.2007 to construct embankments as null & void as is not based on any technical data. CWC has not done any investigation. Further, no data has been supplied to Plaintiff State of Orissa by CWC before giving
its decision.
(f) To grant a mandatory injunction to remove all its structures related to the Polavaram Project (now known as Indira Sagar Project) on Godvari river at Polavaram being executed by the A.P.Government.
 Environmental clearance granted by MOEF on 25.10.2005 in favour of Polavaram Project has been set aside by the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) vide order dt.19.12.2007.
Govt. of Andhra Pradesh challenged this order in Andhra Pradesh High Court and A.P High court has suspended the order of NEAA on 31.12.2007. A counter affidavit has been filed by F&E Department , Government of Orissa in WP No.27787 of 2007, WPMP No.36348 of 2007 and WVMP of 2008 in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh requesting to vacate the interim order dated 31.12.2007.
A written statement has been filed by MOTA on Suit No.4 of 2007, the State of Orissa Vrs State of Andhra Pradesh and others in the Supreme Court of India.A written statement has also been filed by Govt.of A.P.on Suit No.4 of 2007, the State of Orissa Vrs State of Andhra Pradesh and others in the Supreme Court of India. The rejoinder to the above written statement has been prepared by Govt. of Orissa and filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
The TAC clearance for the project has been accorded on 23.01.2009 by Central Water Commission as per the stipulation given below
1. The project authorities shall give to the MOEF the details of the proposed protection bunds along Sabari and Sileru to prevent Submergence in Orissa and Chhattisgarh in accordance with orders of Hon’ble High Court of Orissa and condition imposed by MOTA and MOEF and takes their concurrence before construction of these protection embankments.
2. The project authorities shall furnish confirmation report to MOTA that there is no change in the number of project affected ST family and ST population from what was reported at the clearance of R&R plan by MOTA.
3. The State of Andhra Pradesh shall ensure that there is no submergence of any habitations or forest area in Orissa and Chhattisgarh as assured by them by constructing protective embankments with adequate drainage arrangements.
4. The project authorities shall fulfill the stipulated conditions of MOEF and MOTA as laid down in their respective clearances.
The application for stay of operation of the clearance granted by TAC of CWC in respect of Indirasagar ( Pollavaram) Project, Andhra Pradesh on 20th January 2009 and injunction restraining A.P Government from proceeding further with construction work in respect of the project has been filed in the Hon’ble Supreme
Court of India on 16.02.2009. Also the rejoinder to the written statement filed by MOTA on suit 4 of 2007 has been filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. Forest clearance to the project has been accorded by MOEF on 07.12.2008.Action is being taken for filling counter to the Forest clearance granted by MOEF in the
Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.